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My Work From Home setup

While it has been a year since I have been working from home due to covid, I have been investing in a good WFH setup much earlier than that. The productivity improvements by just having a dedicated space to sit and do your work at home is highly underrated.

So here goes the detail of stuff that helps me work better

PS: some links below are referral links and i make a small commission for qualified purchases


The Sitting Desk: This is perhaps one of my best investment yet. I got it made a few years ago.
My main specifications were:

  • It should be longer than normal( I like to have books and reading material also on the table)
  • Specific design(see the whites)
  • No annoying leg support that most desks in the market had. They are a nuisance for slightly taller people

The standing desk setup: This is new. I figured the best way to have any standing time is if I take some meetings standing. Unfortunately most standing desks are either super expensive, or just not ergonomic. I also did not want to give up on my existing desk.

The key to a good standing desk is to have the monitor at your eye level and your arms at 90%, very similar to how it should be when you are sitting.

My standing desk comprises of :
Standing desk converter (I use this one) : I keep this always raised. It turned out to be much more sturdier than I thought and flexible height means I can adjust it just right.
– On Top of it is your stepper used in Gyms ( i once exercised ūüôĀ )
a laptop stand( I use this one)

While this looks a lot, this gives me a comfortable standing posture. I can stand straight and type without straining my neck or my back


My Monitors
I primarily only work on my monitors and my laptop is only used when I am away from my desk or taking a standing meeting. I love keeping one monitor vertically as it helps me read long documents better, or open multiple windows together.
I use Samsung’s curved monitor for my primary work. I love the curved monitor so much that I don’t think i would go back to flat ones any time soon. Also it seems curved monitors are better for your eyes.



I also use Amazon basics monitor arms that can connect to my table without any drilling. I can shift it relatively easily to any side of the table. Monitor arms not only save space, they also allows me to put one of my monitors in a vertical position

Monitor Arms

Chair: I use a gaming chair by Greensoul. I assumed that gaming chairs should be super comfortable because gamers spend a lot of time sitting, but after using it for a year I think its not the case. It is a decent starter chair, but I am thinking of upgrading. Suggestions welcomed (Update: It seems they updated the lumbar support in the new model)


VC setup
My entire setup is fixed and I do not move around the laptop much, as a result I cannot use my laptop for my calls.
Also if you are using a monitor, and stare at it during a video call, it can be super distracting or annoying for the other person.
As a product manager, making at-least some personal connection is super critical and hence investing in a decent VC setup can go a long way (In budget)

Video: Logitech portable webcam this is attached to my primary monitor

Logitech camera


Microphone: I use and a Ahuja MTP-20 wired unidirectional collar lavalier mike , which is attached directly to my Macbook. While the Logitech webcam comes with an inbuilt microphone, it’s voice capture is not that great. A cheap Lavalier microphone can work wonders. I use this unidirectional one that cuts out any background sound such as a running fan. Also, since it is wired, its pretty economical

Lavalier Microphone



Sound: Macbook Pro built in

A note on using bluetooth devices
I did experiment with a bluetooth setup for both microphone and speakers, but there was always this slight lag that made conversations unnatural. I recommend against using any bluetooth device for audio in or out.


Mesh Wifi: My life has been different pre and post mesh wifi. It has been the single best upgrade I have done to my home office setup. I use Deco M4.
See below the speed tests before and after mesh.
Directly from router Wifi: 22Mbps
On mesh: 160Mbps

Wifi Speed before and after using Mesh Wifi Deco M4
My Mesh wifi. It looks super cool

Deco M4


Keyboard and Mice: Apple original Keyboard and Magic Mouse. If you are using a mac and can afford it (or your company pays for it), I recommend just closing your eyes and going with apple original. They not only work well, but also support all kinds of apple specific gestures, especially when it comes to the mouse

Apple keyboard and mouse

Other stuff

Wire organisers, lots of them to keep the wires always in place and mostly out of sight. I even created a charging station


Amazon basic lamp: Not only it looks cool, its great when you want to work in a yellow light during the night. Its rechargeable so no need to keep it plugged in. Really handy if you want to read a book on the desk.

Amazon basic lamp

Blackout Curtains: My desk faces the window, and while it is great to look out, during sunny days the brightness was way too much. My eyes started hurting trying to adjust to two different light sources.
I use these ones by Armenia Hague. Mine are fairly economical and work really well. I barely notice even if its super bright outside.( See images below)


Smart bulb directly on top of my desk, connected to my google mini. Its fun to ask the assistant to switch off the lights. I use Tplink smart light

Night time


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Product reviews

Product review: WeChat app (Chat app for smartphones)

Recently got a chance to review a chat app called wechat

twechat app reviewThis is a smartphone app, works on Android phones seamlessly ( I tested). They also support IOS symbian and windows and are coming up with blackberry though i suspect how many blackberry users will actually use it.

First thing that will strike you about his app is the beauty , its UI is simply great. good job guys

Think of this as an alternative to whatsapp(i am an addict), have group chats of up to 40 people, add people who have wechat account plus find people

As per the specs

  • Provides multimedia communication flexibility and convenience with text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, Video/Audio calling, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, photo/video sharing, location sharing, and contact information exchange

One thing i liked was the range of emoticons and the ability to change chat backgrounds. Sounds trivial but gives it a personal touch.

Now lets talk about social features

  • You can find people near you using wechat, this is a great tool if you are in a campus. It can act like an internal messenger

But the Con with this feature is that you can potentially set your own location and hence never be sure if the person on the other side is actually near you?

I tried this feature but there were too many Chinese/Japanese people around me. I am not sure if Chinese are that many in Hyderabad

One suggestion to developers: Have some sort of  verification mechanism, via GPS maybe. there must be an option to chose only verified accounts

  • Shake: shake your phone and get connected to random person

Ok this can be a little weird but can also be fun. One warning: when it connects to a new person it gives a horrible loud beep. I had my volume set to 0 still it beeped, i guess it overrides phone volume. I was in a class and it was little embarrassing

Another suggestion: Hate the default beep, it’s too loud and too shrill. Have a non intrusive sound

Games: Yaay, we have games. Always love any game that can be played on phone with a friend . they have a rock paper scissor game and more are being planned. Waiting to see more simple fun games

Plus they also have on demand backup, did not try it but would be useful.

Over all I liked this app a lot except for the features listed above. For me personally the biggest utility of wechat would be Group Chat. It is essential for me but again will depend on how many people adopt it

Some more features I would like:

Find FB friends

Import contact lists from other places, eg Google voice

 

Disclaimer: This is a paid review under the Blogadda program

http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/04/12/indian-blogs-sponsored-reviews-blogger

http://www.wechatapp.com/en/

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